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The Georgetown University Calcagnini Contemplative Center

Dynerman Architects

Project Name

The Georgetown University Calcagnini Contemplative Center

Project Status


Year Completed



15,000 sq. feet

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Project Description

Designers of this ecumenical retreat center at a Jesuit University built the campus almost entirely of wood, a choice that was in direct response to the client’s pedagogic and spiritual goals. Each building in the 15,000-square-foot complex relies on wood for structure and aesthetics, to provide an environment that is calm, embracing and human in scale. Cabins were built with SFI-certified dimension lumber using simple light-frame construction methods. The chapel, dining hall and community buildings combine timber-framing with panelized roof construction. Exposed glulam rafters and beams support wood structural insulated panels in the roof, providing an assembly with high R-value that was easy to erect. Building exteriors were clad in western red cedar arranged in panels, highlighting both the geometry of the assembly and the natural randomness of the wood's grain. Both the cedar and the exposed structural framing are carried into the interiors, visually ‘bringing the outdoors in’ to the pavilions.
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